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Cancer might be the most studied medical condition of all (I don't know if it's actually true, but it sure sounds like it), as it is such a complex and diverse disease. Scientists all over the world are studying different aspects of cancer for years and years, papers are published daily, and new treatments for all types of cancers are constantly being developed.

Considering all this, how close are we to actually be able to control and treat cancer (in general) in such a way that it would be considered a treatable disease (like bacterial infections for example)?

I guess we can measure our progress in fighting cancer by how well do we understand its mechanisms and how efficient are our drugs and treatments. Is there any official and general statement about these things?

  • We can kill any cell with poison, the issue is getting the poison to where we want it. Antibiotics mostly affect bacteria (luckily), so there is a general cure for infectious diseases. Note that treatment still differs though (flue and TBE, as an example). For cancer, it is more difficult getting poison to the cancer cells regardless of which cancer it is. I suppose this is what you envision as cancer treatment? – Narusan Jun 12 '18 at 11:07
  • Right, I am talking rather simplistically about getting a person with cancer - either solid, defined tumor or non-solid, leukemia-type cancer - to a state in which he no longer has cancer (without recurrence). In other words, complete control and cure. – Don_S Jun 12 '18 at 11:12
  • The only possible way I see is to detect cancer cells and get the killing agent to them. This is possible - the body itself has mechanisms to detect cancer cells and research is performed in this area. If this is what you are asking about, it is worth clarifying that because currently your question is very broad. There are many differing treatments for cancer, but the only generally applicable I can think of is the one I described... – Narusan Jun 12 '18 at 11:15
  • The basis for my question is the observation that so many resources are being invested in this field, so many labs working on it all over the world, everybody knows that cancer is one of the worst things that can happen to you - so I want to know where do we stand on the subject? – Don_S Jun 12 '18 at 11:16
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    This generalistic approach is probably too broad, tbh. Focussing on is treatment option and the development there might be more satisfactory. – Narusan Jun 12 '18 at 11:22